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The fourth Week In Review post. Whole grain edition.

People seem to be enjoying these so what the hell, I'll keep pumping them out!

This past week... well! I thought the previous week in social media was wacky but this week was off the chain. Let's take a look real quick.

Facebook Drama Of The Week, On My Page At Least:

I made a little post about ketogenic dieting for weight loss and all hell broke lose. Obviously some people do well on ketogenic diets. It's beyond my scope of practice or area of expertise to speculate on what the long term health implications of this might be, but as for weight loss, as always it comes back to whatever approach an individual can stick to in sustaining and maintaining a "not inappropriate" total energy intake.
  • Would I recommend keto? Nope.
  • Do some people do well on it though? Yep.
  • Does that prove keto is the only approach that works though? Of course not.
  • So since it works shouldn't I still present it as a valid option? No. Although some people do seem to take to it like a duck to water, I see a lot of people struggling and making themselves miserable needlessly, and failing to see results even though they do stick to all the necessary restrictions. 
Of course if people aren't interested in my advice and choose to do keto all the same, that's their choice so good luck to them. Just stop trying to convince everyone else that there's some reason no other approach can work and extreme carbohydrate avoidance is required for health and weight management, because that's a load of garbage.

More Interesting Stuff In Case You Missed It:

The Dietitian's Pantry shared this post about how great bread is. You might be aware that I've had a bit of an issue for a long time now with random idiots and social media "experts" getting on people's backs with unsolicited advice and relentless pressure to give up bread, cereal, grains in general and gluten in particular.

This week I noticed a couple of new articles on the subject and so here they are:

Exposed Scam Diet Of The Week:

The Bulletproof Diet and related nonsense should probably be scam of the week every week, to be honest.

Most epic ensuing drama of the week goes to: 

That study from Melbourne Uni, reported in the press as "paleo food fad results in weight gain" but more accurately (as best I understand it) showing the result of a high fat approach with sedentary subjects, due to reduced energy expenditure. The response from certain high profile markters of LCHF and paleo diets who THINK they are health experts was quite ironic to say the least.

And finally...

A little shout out to Nuts For Life.

I'll tell you why real quick. A while back I made a post about trainers giving out crap meal plans which have instructions such as "none of this stuff ever but as much of this other stuff as you want".

Now, even if that "other stuff" is all really, really good choices that you probably should include... "as much as you like" (of all but the most energy sparse choices of foods) can still put you in excess of a total energy intake that you can put to good use. Regardless of where you're sourcing that energy from there's only so much you can put to use, whether it's from a really wholesome source or a more frivolous choice.

So a while back I made that post and I had in mind a particular meal plan I'd see that had almonds as one of the things you could have in unlimited quantities. Maybe it came across like I was suggesting nuts weren't a great choice (which wasn't my intention), because Lisa came and hit us with a bunch of good facts about the benefits of nuts, of which there are many. As a result I started including 40g of mixed nuts into my plan almost every day, and it has been one of the best and easiest things I've ever done to improve my every day dietary habits. So if you LIKE nuts and obviously if you don't have any medical reason to avoid them... I do recommend 30 to 40g a day within the context of meeting but not exceeding all of your requirements.
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A wacky week in review, the third edition.

What a wild and wacky week of social media it has been the last 7 days or so. Lawd have mercy, where do I even begin?

The SIRT Diet apparently was in the news and as usual, for all the wrong reasons. I actually missed this one at first but Emma at Broccoli & Blueberries has covered it nicely. As usual, it's one more of these diets that claims to be "different", claims to not be about starving or restriction, but rather is about wonderful special properties of certain foods... but then goes and restricts you a 1000 calorie per day starvation ration all the same. SIGH.

Exposed Frauds & Scammers Of The Week:

This time by "exposed" what I actually mean is "convicted" so chalk this up as a big win for the forces of good in the world. Robert O Young was convicted on two counts of practicing medicine without a license. This is the guy who dreamed up the "pH diet" aka "alkaline diet". As we discussed in this popular post on my facebook page, it's odd to me that others who (one assumes) honestly believe that they are not quacks and charlatans still push this pH nonsense which has absolutely no basis in science, even though the guy who invented it has been charged with multiple offences and convicted of practicing medicine without a license.

What You Might Have Missed Elsewhere This Week:

In response to some of these ridiculous & unrealistic (aka I'm saying they just make up fancy sounding shit thinking everyone is going to be impressed by it for some reason) "day on a plate" things going around, Alex at The Dietitian's Pantry shared her own Unapologetically Boring Day On A Plate with some added commentary.

I did mine too as you can see on the right or on facebook here. I was actually a little disappointed I didn't get more criticism from clean eating types trying to convince me that 16% body fat isn't good enough, and I need to cut out a bunch of stuff that I like and get down to 12% like some other male they can probably produce a photo of. It would have been a good chance to make a point about body positivity.

Speaking of which, this nice piece of news was brought to my attention via Mike from Lean Minded: Acceptance Is Killing The Diet Industry, and also this week Body Positive Australia teamed up with Special K with their #OwnIt campaign.

What Else You Might Have Missed On My Facebook This Week:
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Last Week In Review: Second Edition

Selfie Of The Week featuring choice of attire that was
not at all suitable to the warm & humid conditions that day.
This is actually more like "the past two weeks" in review since I missed last week due to some reasons.

I didn't publish any new blog entries, but I did re-share a couple of my best classic entries, from the vault.

Here: 1200 Calories, Zero Results.
And here: Observations On Involuntary Binge Eating.

Those are links to where I shared the links on facebook, and the subsequent discussion.

Also On My Facebook This Week:

The running theme this week was that it's not really that hard to make small but significant improvements to your diet, and that probably the best advice I can give you is to just do your best and don't listen to jerks who want to make you feel like it's still not good enough. That post proved most popular.

The previous week was all ridiculous arguments with people who don't accept that too long and too far into deficit can be a bad thing for fat loss and that it is preferable that we advise people that they will see good results by reducing the level of deficit, rather than going further and further into restriction an attempt to starve weight off. All of which culminated in this video, in addition to some other good posts on the subject here and here.

Elsewhere On Facebook:

This seemed to be my most popular comment elsewhere. Yes, I was being facetious!

We were discussing "the food diary that makes Pete Evans' Day on a Plate look normal". Sigh.


Another Great Article I Recommend You Check Out If You Haven't Already:
Great article from Dare Not To Diet, brought to my attention by my friend Joanna at Everyday Nutrition. I've written and talked a lot about this in the past. With my approach, I start people on some baseline fueling targets that are usually more than they're used to, but actually still significantly below their optimal requirements from a sports nutrition for best results from training perspective. We increase from there, and all is well. Better results, less stress about food choices, and so on. But then all of a sudden people find they are getting HUNGRY even though they are eating more than they have in a long long time, and often it seems to scare the hell out of them at first.

The thing is though, your body is adaptable and after periods of restriction people may find that they just don't get as hungry any more. But this does not necessarily mean that they are eating enough and don't have a use for any more. For people who are in training, who have gone from restricting, to adequate fueling, and towards more optimal fueling, hunger is your body's way of letting you know "this is great, but if you give me more I can do even better".

For people in training, hunger is actually a very, very good sign. Your body wants to do better, to produce greater and greater results. You need to listen to the messages it is sending you, and trust and respond to them.
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This Week In Review: First Edition.

I chose this as Selfie Of The Week due to looking marginally
less like a psychopath than usual.
I haven't updated this blog in way too long. Not entirely because of laziness but because I've been posting a full essay most days on my facebook page plus whatever other social media type interactions.

I've decided I'm going to start using it to do a "week in review" post with links to any particularly good articles that people should know about, as well as my own highlights in social media content for the week.

New On My Official Blog This Week:

The "official blog" being the one on my personal training business website. Apparently that was an important issue that required clarification the last time I referred to it as such. This week I published a new entry entitled "Your Coach Only Thinks He (Or She) Is Doing IIFYM".

To summarise; "IIFYM" is supposed to be about determining an intelligent estimate of what your optimal sports nutrition targets might be in order to fuel, perform, recover, and adapt to training, and the equation to work this out is not "whatever you're eating now minus 500 calories" or anything similar.

What You Might Have Missed On My Facebook Page This Week:

Like I said earlier, I've been in the habit of writing an essay sized post on facebook most days. This strong worded rant in response to the preposterous garbage headline on the right of proved quite popular.

File under: I am gonna fkn lose it, man.

What You Might Have Missed Elsewhere On Facebook This Week:

Drama ensured on the That Sugar Film page when I took exception to a post of theirs warning people about "all that sugar" in, of all things, sultanas.

If nothing else, I will give the admin credit for allowing me to have my say and not deleting the comments or banning me from further participation the way various other pages are known for.

Raising awareness of the importance of limiting added sugars is great, and calling out products that are marketed as being "healthy" despite being high in added sugar is fair enough too I guess. However, putting the idea into people's heads that anything at all containing sugars natural or otherwise is something to be concerned with and avoided is an entirely different matter.

The commenter in the screen shot above was in the minority who was able (or prepared) to see where I was coming from. To the majority, having a dissenting opinion based on professional experience, and supporting it with solid reasoning and logic is just "trolling".

Exposed Frauds & Scammers Of The Week:

Food Babe & Mark Hyman.
Let's stop treating either of these as honest or credible sources of information, shall we?

More Great Articles I Recommend You Check Out If You Haven't Already:

"It is important to emphasize that none of these food beliefs are science based. After 50 years of research there is no evidence for any health benefit to eating organic. After 20 years of research there is no evidence of any health risk to any currently available GMO foods."
"I’m not denying the physics here. If you take in fewer calories, you’ll lose weight. But if you explicitly try to reduce calories, you’re likely to do the exact opposite. Almost everyone who tries to diet goes through that battle of the bulge. Diets cause the psychological struggle that causes weight gain."
"While men and women are both guilty of opting for bootcamp after bootcamp in hopes of building quality muscle and sizzling away their love handles, I’ve observed that this phenomenon is especially prevalent amongst women. High reps! No rest! Keep your heart rate up the whole workout or else you’re wasting your time! It’s all about the calorie burn! 
These are just a few statements regurgitated by well-meaning but woefully misinformed health enthusiasts."
While men and women are both guilty of opting for bootcamp after bootcamp in hopes of building quality muscle and sizzling away their love handles, I’ve observed that this phenomenon is especially prevalent amongst women. High reps! No rest! Keep your heart rate up the whole workout or else you’re wasting your time! It’s all about the calorie burn! These are just a few statements regurgitated by well-meaning but woefully misinformed health enthusiasts. - See more at: http://www.soheefit.com/longer-rest/#sthash.KJAuf0W6.dpuf
While men and women are both guilty of opting for bootcamp after bootcamp in hopes of building quality muscle and sizzling away their love handles, I’ve observed that this phenomenon is especially prevalent amongst women. High reps! No rest! Keep your heart rate up the whole workout or else you’re wasting your time! It’s all about the calorie burn! These are just a few statements regurgitated by well-meaning but woefully misinformed health enthusiasts. - See more at: http://www.soheefit.com/longer-rest/#sthash.KJAuf0W6.dpuf
While men and women are both guilty of opting for bootcamp after bootcamp in hopes of building quality muscle and sizzling away their love handles, I’ve observed that this phenomenon is especially prevalent amongst women. High reps! No rest! Keep your heart rate up the whole workout or else you’re wasting your time! It’s all about the calorie burn! These are just a few statements regurgitated by well-meaning but woefully misinformed health enthusiasts. - See more at: http://www.soheefit.com/longer-rest/#sthash.KJAuf0W6.dpuf
While men and women are both guilty of opting for bootcamp after bootcamp in hopes of building quality muscle and sizzling away their love handles, I’ve observed that this phenomenon is especially prevalent amongst women. High reps! No rest! Keep your heart rate up the whole workout or else you’re wasting your time! It’s all about the calorie burn! These are just a few statements regurgitated by well-meaning but woefully misinformed health enthusiasts. - See more at: http://www.soheefit.com/longer-rest/#sthash.KJAuf0W6.dpuf
While men and women are both guilty of opting for bootcamp after bootcamp in hopes of building quality muscle and sizzling away their love handles, I’ve observed that this phenomenon is especially prevalent amongst women. High reps! No rest! Keep your heart rate up the whole workout or else you’re wasting your time! It’s all about the calorie burn! These are just a few statements regurgitated by well-meaning but woefully misinformed health enthusiasts. - See more at: http://www.soheefit.com/longer-rest/#sthash.KJAuf0W6.dpuf
While men and women are both guilty of opting for bootcamp after bootcamp in hopes of building quality muscle and sizzling away their love handles, I’ve observed that this phenomenon is especially prevalent amongst women. High reps! No rest! Keep your heart rate up the whole workout or else you’re wasting your time! It’s all about the calorie burn! These are just a few statements regurgitated by well-meaning but woefully misinformed health enthusiasts. - See more at: http://www.soheefit.com/longer-rest/#sthash.KJAuf0W6.dpuf"

Blocked By Pete Facebook Page:

Gang just as a heads up if you were not already aware; I'm no longer on the admin team of the Blocked By Pete facebook page and I'll tell you why. When we started the page, the issue was with marketers of fad diets using elitism, guilt and fear mongering in a manner that was tantamount to the promotion of orthorexia and contributing to the increasing numbers of people developing or relapsing into eating disorder.

As bad as that was, several of the pages participants have been "blocked by" have progressed from merely promoting orthorexic ideas about healthy eating, to actually attempting to supplant the medical profession by giving unqualified advice on how to treat chronic illness and potentially terminal disease. Just look how casually Christine Cronau doles out half baked pseudoscience with a "can't make it any worse!" attitude in the attached screen shot.

Calling this stuff out is important, and best left to the qualified medical professionals who remain as admins of our page. As for me, I need to get back to my mission which is addressing the spread of eating disorders via horrible advice from the fitness and weight loss industries.
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Your coach only *thinks* he or she is doing IIFYM.

Well, maybe not your coach. Hopefully your coach is great. Maybe I’m your coach or someone I’m friends with is.

There are a few good ones out there, but for the most part I see a lot of people appointing themselves coaches and entirely butchering the concept of IIFYM.

The difference between how I do things with my Flexible Fueling strategy vs how most people seem to do things with what they think is an “If It Fits Your Macros” strategy is as follows:

Most people are calculating a DEFICIT and working to that, while I am interested in calculating a target for best performance and condition.

When people are focused on calculating a deficit, the question is “a deficit from what?” and also for that matter “a deficit of how much?”.
Often it’s a deficit from “however much you’re currently getting, on average”. So, you track your intake for a few days, work out how many calories it is, average it out… there’s your “maintenance”. Subtract some amount (it might be 500 cals for example) and there’s your new target to be in deficit.

Bullshit.

If you’re not working to any targets to begin with, your current intake is just some random amount. Subtracting an arbitrary number from this random amount and assuming the result will in some way resemble an appropriate (forget “optimal”) target for performance, recovery and adaptation to training is … :\ … I was going to say “overly optimistic” but it is actually just flat out illogical.

That’s not IIFYM, it is just calorie counting and calorie restriction based on the conditioned assumption that you’re eating too much to begin with and the entirely illogical premise that you can best build a lean, strong and healthy body by depriving it of the energy and resources that it requires. It’s still just an attempt to starve weight off although people feel like they’re being more scientific because they’ve done some poorly applied mathematics first.
The thing with calorie counting and restriction is that… like we discussed in my popular rant on facebook yesterday, you’re just training your body to run on less fuel and still somehow get through training and get through your day.

Regardless though, if it is not restricting to a dangerous level you may still see results BUT the reality is that most people (myself included) don’t really have it in them to dial in strict adherence indefinitely. At best people will be motivated to dial it in hard and tight for a few a months… individual mileage will vary but let’s say 12 weeks is a reasonable amount of time before someone will either start to become a little complacent even if they’ve had good results or say “this is bullshit and I quit” if they have not had good results.

Now this won’t be half as bad as compared to someone who has done some of the more common very low calories + restricted food choices “clean eating” type nonsense but STILL… if you’ve trained your body to get by on an inadequate level of fueling, when you get complacent and drift back towards less structured eating habits it’s likely to be a greater energy intake than you’re used to getting, and I don’t have to tell you what happens to that energy that you’ve trained your body not to require.

Rather than that, consider this.

Twelve weeks building up towards higher, optimal, maximum usable energy and macronutrient targets to facilitate best performance at training, best recovery from training, and promotion of lean mass at the expense of fat stores as an adaptation to training.

Now, for the people who want to clutch at straws and try to pull me up on semantics; YES, obviously “the most you can put to use” is less than an amount at which you would not draw on fat stores due to energy intake being beyond your requirements. So indeed we are still “in deficit” but there is very real difference in the results of calculating our energy and macro targets intelligently with a focus on “how much we can put to good use for best results” vs “how far into deficit”.

You require a certain amount of energy just to be alive, to run your organs and regenerate skin cells and all manner of functions you’re not even really aware that you’re doing. Then you require a certain amount to get through your day able to tolerate… I mean, to interact with others and perform your job at work or at study. We burn a certain amount at training although the real value of training is not the energy that we expend but in how we adapt, and we require a certain amount further to all these other requirements to facilitate this recovery and adaptation to training.

Being at a strategic deficit can be advantageous as we will tap further into fat
stores to make up for the shortfall in energy provision vs energy requirements.
However, being too far into deficit simply means not providing the necessary resources to do all of those good things we talked about in the paragraph above, and running yourself into the ground while actually hampering fat loss at the expense of lean mass. The opposite of what you are actually trying to achieve.

So let’s wind this up.

Let’s say similarly to what we discussed earlier, 12 weeks of building up towards optimal, maximum useable, sports nutrition targets for best performance, recovery and adaptation to training. During that 12 weeks the challenge will be in eating enough to meet your requirements even when you’re not feeling hungry. Beyond that 12 weeks, depending on the individual you might find some people decide “this is bloody great and I can keep this up as long as feel like it and keep driving towards better and better performance and results”, which is great.

Other people are likely to think “that was great but I think I have a pretty good handle on this now and can just make good choices to eat when I’m hungry, confident that I’ll be getting it close enough most of the time” aka “intuitive eating” and that is also great.

My observation of that latter option is that intuitive eating after a period of working towards maximal targets will come in at a slight deficit due to no longer doing the “eat even if you’re not hungry” part. What happens when we’re at a slight, strategic deficit? As discussed a couple of paragraphs earlier, we tap even further into fat stores to make up the balance.
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